14 Best Gentle Detoxifiers

  • January

    For the full article on Detoxification – my personal experience, what it is, how to support eliminating organs and who should avoid aggressive detoxes – read HERE


    These are the 14 best GENTLE detoxifiers, which means there are more. Many more and stronger ones too. Notice I didn’t include any herbs, laxatives or liver supports outside of teas.

    These are strategies that anyone can utilize safely (with the exception of a few conditions that are listed). I’m sure you have your favorites and I welcome your comments at the bottom.

    Skip ahead to read more details by clicking on the links below:

    1. Drink more water and start your day with morning lemon water
    2. Castor oil packs over the liver
    3. Try some Magic socks
    4. Drink Taraxacum (dandelion) tea
    5. Drink green tea
    6. Dry skin brushing and lymph massage
    7. Alternating showers
    8. Gratitude journalling
    9. Get more active and exercise
    10. Daily fresh air
    11. More fiber (fresh fruit, fresh veg, grain)
    12. Abdominal massages
    13. Eat more healthy fats
    14. Practice deep belly breathing

    Remember, speeding up detoxification without actual elimination out of the body will be more harmful then letting your body regulate it’s detox speed itself. More important than speeding up detoxification is healing and ensuring that the organs of elimination are working optimally. Fixing those systems will increase detoxification as a by-product.

    –> Read more about detoxification HERE


    1.Drink more water. Even better, start your day off with lemon water

    Lemon water is an ideal way to start your morning with energy, hydration, and endurance. Simply squeeze the juice of a wedge of lemon into a glass of room temperature or slightly cool water. Here are some of the extensive benefits of starting your day off with lemon water:

    Water is essential to keep you hydrated and encourage sweating and urination. Not to mention the acidity of lemon in the mouth and gut (not blood), stimulates gastric juices and bile flow. This supports the removal of toxins stored in the liver and fat cells to help excrete them safely.

    Lowers Cholesterol
    The bile secretion noted above can clean out the bowels by coating the lining of the colon and help eliminate waste, toxins, and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.

    Promotes Weight Loss
    Consuming lemon water can help break down adipose tissue, which makes up body fat. The pectin fiber can also help cut sugar cravings and appetite.

    Diabetic Regulator
    Regulates blood sugar levels in a similar way to Metformin, the main pharmaceutical drug to control diabetes and insulin resistance.

    Energy Boost
    Two common causes of fatigue are stress and iron deficiency anemia. Lemon juice targets both by nourishing the adrenal glands and aiding in iron absorption. For those with iron deficiency, it is ideal to consume extra vitamin C (which lemons provide) with an iron-rich meal or supplementation.


    Gives a youthful look to the skin and nourishes connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, and muscles) to keep you agile and strong. The ascorbic acid and vitamin C content is also an effective vulnerary by improving speed of healing for wounds and injuries.

    Cancer Prevention
    Anti-oxidant properties from lemon act to protect the body from cancer growth and carcinogens.

    Heart Protection
    Regulates blood pressure by increasing hydration and potassium levels to moderation of body fluid; Provides structural blood vessel support to prevent atherosclerosis and CVD.

    Immune Booster
    Strengthens immunity and decreases allergic reactions, phlegm accumulation, sinus congestion, and inflammation.

    Natural Mouthwash
    There’s an anti-septic effect on oral bacteria from lemon, which is the most common contributor to bad breath. The essential oils of lemon can combat common food-borne bacteria.

    Alkalize Your Body
    Despite its acidity, lemon juice actually has an alkalizing effect in the blood that works to decrease inflammation in the body.Top


    2.Castor oil packs over the liver

    If you are not taking medication or birth control pills, warm external castor oil packs are a great way to increase circulation to the underlying tissues and organs. It is particularly effective in being absorbed into lymph circulation which can improve digestion, immune function, and reduce swelling in injured joints and extremities. It has also been specifically used in cases of menstrual irregularities, uterine fibroid cysts, and ovarian cysts.


    1. Pour a small quantity of castor oil in the glass pan
    2. Take a piece of flannel and soak it in the castor oil.
      Note: castor oil does discolor fabric so be sure to remove any materials you don’t want to be stained and place a sheet on the surface you will be lying on.
    3. Heat the soaked flannel in glass pan gently on a stove until warm
    4. Place flannel over your liver (at the base of your right ribcage) to promote detoxification — or affected body part for other conditions
    5. Cover the flannel and your body with a piece of plastic to insulate and prevent leakage of oil (cut one – two inches larger than flannel)
    6. Place a heating pad over plastic and set on low heat for 50-60 minutes
    7. Rest while the pack is in place – careful not to fall asleep with heating pad on for it may burn
    8. After removal, cleanse the area with water or with water and baking soda
    9. The castor oil pack should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator and may be reused numerous times
    10. Apply the pack up to once a day
    Castor oil pack -- thank you Pixabay.com ;)

    Castor oil pack — thank you Pixabay.com 😉

    Because it increases blood flow and circulation, females should avoid using the packs over their pelvic region during menstruation or if they are pregnant.Top


    3.Try some Magic socks

    Magic? Yup… They aren’t the most comfortable, but they sure boost your immune system, encourage circulation and get that lymph pumping– all while you sleep!


    Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    1. Get a pair of thin cotton socks and a pair of thick wool socks
    2. Sock the cotton socks in ice cold water and completely ring them out
    3. Here’s the icky part… put the cold socks on. Eww I know!
    4. Then place the wool sock on over top and jump straight into bed

    The cold cotton socks encourage your body to warm up the socks by bringing blood flow to your feet and opening up your pores. As your feet warm up the cotton socks, the wool pair create an insulated layer to further heat up the socks and begin to evaporate the moisture from the socks AND your feet. This is followed up by cooling of the socks and closing of the pores which continues to pump your blood and lymph fluid. This repeats all night long until the socks are dry. When you wake up the next morning your feet will be completely dry and the cotton socks are often crusted and slightly stainedTop.

    4.Drink Taraxacum (dandelion) tea

    Dandelion tea is well known for its diuretic properties, which means it makes you pee a lot and encourages elimination of toxins via the kidneys.

    This delicious tea can be made hot or cold and will encourage healthy kidney function as well as improve digestion and protect your liver. Utilize the leaves but also the root to gain all the benefits of the plant:

    • diuretic
    • bitter digestive stimulant
    • hepatoprotective

    Take 1-2 tbsp of the dried herbs in 8 oz. of boiled water. Let steep for 3-5 minutes before drinking or adding ice to make an iced dandelion tea.Top


    5.Drink green tea

    Green tea is one of my favorite health promoters. This antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, diuretic and anti-obesity stimulant is a delicious beverage to enjoy all day and in any season.

    Only 3 cups of green tea a day can reduce inflammation, free radicals and body fat, as well as prevent many unpleasant conditions:

    • Prevents breast, lung, stomach, prostate and colon cancers
    • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
    • Reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease
    • Prevents kidney stones
    • Calms an upset stomach
    • Helps to lose fat
    • Keeps you alert with a gentle release of caffeine

    The leaves in green tea are actually the same as oolong and black tea, but prepared differently. Green tea leaves are not fermented, rather steamed at high temperatures. 3 cups of green tea can provide from 240-320mg of caffeine. But the MVP of active constituent in green tea that provides all the amazing preventative benefits is actually ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate).

    Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    Photo cred: Pixabay.com



    6.Dry skin brushing and lymph massage

    Dry skin brushing and lymph massages flush lymphatic waste, improves the immune system, and lowers high blood pressure—all with a 5 minute gentle treatment.

    Instructions for Dry Skin Brushing

    • Choose a brush with short and stiff natural bristles. They often come in the size of your palm and sometimes attached to a long handle.
    • Using your brush, make small circular motions from the hands and feet up towards the heart.
      Be careful not to press too deeply. The lymphatic system lies just beneath the skin. Light pressure just scratching the surface of your skin is all you need to remove the lymphatic waste. To view a video, click here.
    • Ideally, perform dry skin brushing before your contrast showers.

    You can easily perform lymph massages on yourself or go to a trained practitioner. Make sure that your are using small circular movements with your fingertips or light sweeping strokes from the extremities of the body (hands and feet) towards to heart. The massage should not be painful at all.

    Both treatments are especially useful for people who get sick often or who have a low white blood cell (WBC) count, high blood pressure, edema, or varicose veins. As an added bonus, dry brushing and lymph massages will also rejuvenate the skin, diminish the appearance of cellulite, stimulates nerve endings, and increases blood circulation and overall vitality.

    Natural Horse Hair Body Brush -- Pic cred: Pixabay.com

    Natural Horse Hair Body Brush — Pic cred: Pixabay.com



    7.Alternating showers

    Taking contrast or alternating hot and cold showers is not only refreshing but stimulates the body’s elimination system, making you clean from the inside out.

    Contrast showers allow your skin to act as a whole-body pump and lymphatic drainer. The hot water opens up your pores, releasing toxins via the skin and relaxing tension in the body. Then, cold water closes pores and pumps lymph fluid through the body’s lymphatic system and into the blood, where it can be filtered and excreted through your urine [31].

    The ideal timing for contrast showers is 3 minutes as hot you can manage while staying relaxed (be sure not to burn yourself), followed by 1 minute of the coldest water you can handle. Repeat this contrast in temperature 2-3 times per shower, always ending on cold.Top


    8.Gratitude journalling

    Journalling can sometimes be negative, fueling and cause rumination of certain stressors and difficult issues. Releasing negative emotions is liberating, but if you continually repeat the same stories over and over again, you will start to look for reasons to be upset. Why not generate all those emotions and energy into recognizing all the positive things in your life?

    My favorite gratitude journal is the Five Minute Journal. It takes only 5 minutes each morning and evening. It puts you in the most positive mindset for the start of your day and before you lay your head down at night. The best part is that it gets easier and easier to think of things to be grateful for. You start to think of things to have gratitude for during the day and when great things are happening. Be aware of all you have to be grateful for and you can manifest more good.





    9.Get more active and exercise

    Move, move, move — Everyday get out and move your body!

    Whether you like to run, strength train, dance, window shop or compete in roller derby contests, just get up and do it! Increasing your strength, endurance, flexibility, circulation and detoxification systems with even a quick 10 minute activity. You can make it a short high-intensity workout or a longer moderate endurance activity, as long as you are consistent.

    Exercise targets your skin via sweating, lungs via deep breathing, and lymph via muscle contractions and blood circulation. Even better, it will allow you to be more focused, clear headed, and increase duration of concentration with your work and daily tasks.Top


    10.Daily fresh air

    Why not exercise outdoors to get the added benefits of fresh air. We spend most of our days inside stuffy buildings or in traffic. Air pollution is all around us, even in our homes. Some can be improved with air filtration systems, however others are unavoidable.

    Take a 30 minute drive out of the city and experience the crisp and fragrant scent of a forest or park. Fill your lungs with as non-polluted oxygen and experience being connected with nature.

    Bow Lake, Canada

    Bow Lake, Canada



    11.More fiber

    Unless you have a severe digestive inflammatory condition, fiber is a great way to get your bowels moving and encourage excretion of toxins and bile through your stools.

    Stick to fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains as your food sources of fiber. You can also add psyllium husk, flax seeds, chia seeds or hemp hearts to your morning smoothies. Not only will they keep you regular, but they also keep be feeling satiated and minimize your sugar cravings.

    If you are supplementing your diet with fiber, make sure to drink lots of water so that the fiber doesn’t get stuck and make you more constipated.Top


    12.Abdominal massages

    Feeling backed up? Give your tummy a little rub to promote movement of the large intestine.

    Direction of abdominal massage -- Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    Direction of abdominal massage — Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    While laying on your back with your knees bent (to relax your abdomen), massage in a clock-wise direction to stimulate bowel movements. Start just above your right hip (where your large intestine begins) and follow it up to the base of your rib cage, across your body, down towards your left hip and back around again. Follow this path using small circular movements, starting off more superficially and then increasing in pressure. If you feel any stiff or sensitive areas, lighten your pressure and try to press the stool in the clock-wise direction.

    Expert tip: use castor oil as an external lubricant and to encourage more blood flow and bowel movements.Top


    13.Eat more healthy fats

    Healthy fats helps to promote your liver and gall bladder to secrete bile, which is important for eliminating cholesterol and waste materials.

    Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    Photo cred: Pixabay.com

    Eating a variety of healthy fats each day will stimulate your digestive system to excrete more waste, toxins and will help to create a nice lubricated environment in your colon for stool to pass through.

    • Avocados
    • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews (not do-nuts)
    • Dairy – butter, cream, cheese
    • Oils – olive, hemp, flax, sunflower, coconut, fish
    • Ghee

    The only way for the body to eliminate cholesterol is through bile. So don’t be confused with the old school of thinking that a ‘low fat, low carb’ diet will keep your cholesterol down. Eat your fats, just make them the healthy kind and not trans fats or modified fats.Top


    14.Practice deep belly breathing

    Eliminate as much residual ‘stale’ air with each breath and maximize oxygen consumption and circulation.

    Taking full, deep belly breaths are so important not only for the exchange of CO2 and O2, but also to put your body into a parasympathetic restful state. Your body needs to be in a relaxed state for proper digestion and to excrete feces and urine.

    Inhale through your nose and imagine the air passing your nostrils, back of the throat, down towards your belly and then spreading into your back and sides. It’s best to practice belly breathing first thing in the morning or just before going to bed while lying down. Place your hands on your abdomen and feel your belly filling with each inhale and then release slowly on every exhale.

    Uruguay, South America -- 2015

    Uruguay, South America — 2015

    –> Read more about what detoxification is, the 6 major eliminating organs and if you should be avoiding aggressive detox programs at www.DrAlisonChen.com/detox

    Don’t forget to subscribe and get your Daily Dose of the best health tips from Dr. Alison Chen, ND to make 2015 your best year yet!


    If you agree or disagree or have a comment to add I welcome your contributions. Detox seems to be a controversial topic, so I ask that anything you add be constructive and brings value to the discussion. I am not in the business of starting controversy for the sake of arguments or Facebook likes. My goal is to educate, empower and bring new perspectives. Please comment responsibly.

This website is NOT to be used as a diagnostic or treatment tool. Always consult with your Conventional Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor for specific concerns. In cases of medical emergencies visit your nearest hospital or call 9-1-1.